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Evidence of God in Plain sight - Part I
"The only way to rectify our reasonings is to make them as tangible as those of the Mathematicians, so that we can find our error at a glance, and when there are disputes among persons, we can simply say: Let us calculate [calculemus], without further ado, to see who is right." ~~~Gottfried Leibniz (1646 - 1716) Before demanding proof, the problem needs to be framed first. I will try to make this write up somewhat of a resource. All the related body of knowledge will hopefully help with the necessary framing. Mathematics by itself cannot prove anything outside the relationships between numbers. But one can formally represent thoughts and/or observations through mathematics in such a way that their consistency can be tested. On some fundamental level we accept these representations even without proof because they look right. The famous 1+1=2 although not yet proven still makes perfect sense. Granted we can provide proofs within a subset of mathematics, in this case algebra, but mathematical proofs on a fundamental level are elusive. What mathematics does well is to make sense of measurable, comparable and chance scenarios. Relevant to this discussion, the probability that our existence is a mere chance is much more than 10 to the power 50, which is a generally agreed upon number for impossible in most modeling tools. The actual calculated number for life to have occurred by chance is anywhere between 10 to the power 10 and 10 to the power 100. In fact, some even scale the latter number up to several million. All that I am about to share has been around for decades, a couple even past the half a century mark. Hence, the claim that there is no evidence of God is nothing but sheer ignorance. Some would even claim it is a choice. Then there are those who get discouraged or surrender to their confirmation bias instead of seeing it through, just because somebody claimed to have “debunked” it. Evidence/proof of God debate If we were to look for a purely mathematical proof for the “existence” (for want of a better word, God by definition is free from the constraints of time and space) of God that concisely and accurately details such a proof, then look no further than Gödel. But do read on, it is not only about Gödel. There is a tendency in some quarters to attack Gödel’s verified proof (See note 1 below), but here is the thing, it makes no sense to use the old set of rules to attack the new set of rational rules Gödel himself helped formulate. Let us not forget the crisis in mathematics at the turn of the last century. It was Gödel that made the old set once again tenable to begin with. A reality devoid of necessity, possibility and all the truths that cannot be demonstrated in "all possible worlds" is not real. Most critics of the proof utterly and totally misunderstand the expression “all possible worlds”. It is not a reference to some imaginary far away world(s), the world in question is right here and how we make logic and reason to work and perceive everything in the present. Hence, Gödel’s proof is nothing, but ontological proof expressed mathematically without Hume’s critique of ontological proof applying to it. Sure, we can argue some more over the maintainability of ontological proofs, but if that would resolve anything to the satisfaction of all then I am all in. Sadly, that is not what the five thousand-year-old history of the issue has taught us. The often-observed rigid way of demanding proof by some skeptics is at best dated, even mathematicians are moving away from something as fundamental as equality to equivalence. Counter intuitive to some but that is exactly what is happening. And there are very good reasons for that. Gödel did a fantastic job, however there is another way, for lessor mortals, to go about providing more than enough evidence for the existence of God through mathematics. Before we venture out, the first question that must be raised is, “What attribute of God can be measured with our existing tools?”. Why is this important? Because without any measurement we will lack data to work on. And the analysis of any existing data will remain unresolved if we do not know what we are looking for. But first allow me to bring in some much-needed context- warning-long read. A lot of you are very well clued into the debate but others may find it useful. It is also hoped that those who were previously exposed to some part of the relevant research will benefit from a properly framed second look. No matter what kind of proof we come up with, the proof of God is going to be relative; what passed as proof in the era of Vedas, Bible or Quran revelations would be laughed at today and by the same token even if we were to come up with a workable demonstration to prove the existence of a God, people a thousand years from now would think of it as funny, at best. The funny thing is that we cannot even imagine why it would appear funny to them. So, where do we start? The claim or the many claims pointing to communication between man and God would be one way to go about it. It is of course possible to move the veracity of communication from man to God from the anecdotal to empirical and verifiable by simply scaling it in the same way that it is already done routinely in the case of some anecdotal evidence. An interesting perspective here. However, it will make more sense to focus on the claims of communication from God to man because if there is going to be any measurable attribute of God it is probably going to be in this form of communication. The question of what exactly it is that one would want to see measured or data collected on and with what, needs gathering. Before we tackle this issue of communication let us deal with the proverbial “So where is the evidence?” Well there is tons of evidence, the real question ought to be what exactly would one like to see and in what form? If one expects eight neat lines preferably in plain English that should jump at someone and wash away all their currently held conviction then no, it’s not going to happen. Besides, a determined skeptic can simply dig her or his heels in and keep dismissing everything. There is no rational cure for irrationally held convictions. Please do not say any scientifically verifiable empirical evidence will do. We must be careful not to slip into Scientism. The very claim “we should only believe what can be scientifically proven” cannot be scientifically proven. It is, first, a philosophical claim and secondly, a classic Self-Defeating Statement. Wanting science to have all the answers doesn’t translate into science having all the answers. That holds true for both the present and the future. To start with the observable Universe is convincing enough for most people. A quick take first. To the question “If God created the Universe then who created God?” please refer to infinite regression while keeping in mind the definitional contrast between the creation and the created. Both cannot be part of the same regression chain. A series of similar or identical propositions where the sole demonstration of each one is the previous one, leads to fallacious reasoning. Not to mention category conflict when we want to know who created an infinite being. Another infinite being? If so, then what exactly is infinite to begin with? Mathematically one can play around a bit with infinity in terms of aleph-naught etc. but general infinite is just that, infinite, one infinite. From another angle, “Who created God?” is a separate question that cannot be used to scrap or answer the original question “Who created the Universe?”. Similarly, even if one were to assume that the Universe was not created does not discount asking the question “Does God exist?” The current “There is no God” narrative is unraveling fast within the very circles that were leveraged to get it going. In the scientific community, there is a change of attitude being witnessed. Until recently, few scientists would have risked the G-word even in private for obvious reasons. Now they are thinking big. The issue of information for instance is gaining steam and has in fact moved beyond the “information realism”. In the words of one proponent/Author: Bernardo Kastrup “As I elaborate extensively in my new book, The Idea of the World, none of this implies solipsism. The mental universe exists in mind but not in your personal mind alone. Instead, it is a transpersonal field of mentation that presents itself to us as physicality—with its concreteness, solidity and definiteness—once our personal mental processes interact with it through observation. This mental universe is what physics is leading us to, not the hand-waving word games of information realism.” Even evolution itself needs a rethink to accommodate the “beauty” factor. And some have started doing just that by unfreezing Darwin’s original concerns about beauty. Here is a glimpse into somebody many thinks should get the Nobel prize. Why science needs imagination and beauty In a slightly different vein, some take the view that there is no proof that God is responsible for the existence of the Universe even if God exists. Others take the easy route and declare that it is impossible to get to the truth as things stand today. Funny how easy it is to declare something impossible, in most cases it is reduced to a simple declaration, compared to the effort required to show something that was thought impossible possible. Yes, that old "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" again. In the information age, to claim absence when there is presence is the height of ignorance. The seriousness of any truth claims , cuts both ways. Claims both positive and negative must be backed by evidence. Yes, you can prove a negative. Not only that, but almost any negative claim can be restated in the positive. The supposed argument from silence is not the way to go either. Usually employed to try and dilute existing evidence. We all are aware of the ever-evolving talking points of the self-appointed “Horsemen” of the “movement”. From the very weak negative existential proposition-one that tries to deny the existence of something- to the faulty analogy of the Spaghetti monsters. This pasta driven improbability scenario seems to have run its course. The shift to the absurd current talking point “God ‘probably’ does not exist” declaration is telling. All of these positions are problematic. Both ontologically and when reduced to naked numbers. Let me quote Jonathan Sacks, author of The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning, who articulated the issue wonderfully: “Atheism deserves better than the new atheists whose methodology consists of criticizing religion without understanding it, quoting texts without contexts, taking exceptions as the rule, confusing folk belief with reflective theology, abusing, mocking, ridiculing, caricaturing, and demonizing religious faith and holding it responsible for the great crimes against humanity. Religion has done harm; I acknowledge that. But the cure for bad religion is good religion, not no religion, just as the cure for bad science is good science, not the abandonment of science.” The current “probably” talking point pushed through the debating circles has opened the door to absurd reactions. How about labeling food as “Probably not poisonous” and airplanes marked “Probably safe to fly.” The debate is not even about the evidence that something is confirmed absent, there is none; the focus must be on defining what will be an accepted form of evidence to an individual when it comes to God. Various claims pointing to tons of evidence needs exploring, however, before evaluating the different forms of evidence, one needs to set individual believability thresholds. So, what exactly are individual believability thresholds? Believability is tied to hands-on individual verification and validation. The key is to avoid the “my experts are better than your experts” trap. Hunting for evidence should not be dependent on believing somebody before believing in something, or not believing in something. So, what’s wrong with experts, one may ask? Nothing. As long as they all agree on a given body of knowledge. The problem arises when two “experts” derive completely opposite conclusions from the same set of facts, and one is back to square one. And ironically left with a leap of faith between competing claims. Often confirmation bias is the easy route out. The other logical question to ask would be why not become an expert yourself? Always an option for those who can hack it, not to mention the cost associated with gaining expert level knowledge. Did somebody mention 10,000 hours? Even at minimum wage that will add up to a pretty sum. Even 1,000 hours will be a bridge too far for most. What is the point? The point is that the evidence needs to be in a form that any reasonably educated person can understand and internalize it. So how do we define any reasonably educated person? How about Reading, Writing,and Arithmetic? That sounds about right. And we may only need two out of three here. Let us also tackle the question, read taunt, of which God? I think we need to go past that one very quickly, God must be one and the only God unless we go back now and change the definition of God. Besides, when the evidence is verified, this question will resolve itself automatically for each individual,irrespective of what name he or she calls God. Which, by the way, is a more accurate reflection of the “different gods” taunt, as opposed to actual different gods. Besides, it would seem that we are wired for oneness. Let’s come back to what type and/or level of evidence will satisfy someone? To some it would seem as an attempt to shift the burden of proof remember the burden of proof is on the claimant, as we are constantly reminded. Actually, not in this case. What does it have to do with someone helping someone else find suitable evidence from the already published works? If we want some help, then it doesn't hurt to help facilitate the process. One also always has the option of going it alone. That is, if one is able to get past one’s own impossibility mindset. The essence of inquiry is that we must start out by asking questions. We only ask questions when we are not satisfied with the usual canned answers. So, let us revisit the three most often discussed:” What is the purpose of life?”, “Where did we come from?”, and most importantly,” Where are we headed?”. What about those who are not interested in chasing answers and are happy with things as they stand? In that case, there is no issue to resolve, at least not for the time being. However there is evidence that points to our tendencies to seek spirituality. Let us not forget a consensus is growing that 40 plus is the age of maturity, at least for men, women mature a little earlier, hence most have time. This is something that cannot be forced but bringing it to the attention of those not yet aware, in the best possible way, of course, must be an obligation as well. We can compare it to a safety or security issue, if one knows that a certain path is harmful (through a minefield for instance) to the point that irreparable damage is a possibility, then not pointing it out is irresponsible in the least and can even be termed criminal by some. After a while, it became clear to many of us that between the fence sitters and the blind faith proponents there must be a third way. Although the militant Atheist deserves to be ignored (I don’t know and you don’t know), along with the Existentialists (at best an idealistic doctrine), my question to the fence sitters is: “How long are you willing to wait?”. If we were all immortals, then I would jump up and sit on the fence right beside you lot and wait. This belief, non-belief, is not going to help me as an individual if the answers are not forthcoming within my lifetime and preferably earlier part of it. I have to shape my life now and ensure I don't miss a trick. Even by taking on Pascal's deficient wager I am still spreading my bets better than most. The write and wrong of it from a philosophical point of view is irrelevant to me as an individual. I am on the clock. If the desire is to look for answers, then the first question towards that end is a question of dealing with our current constraint; so, we circle back to what attribute of God can be measured with our existing tools. Without going into too much detail of how most of God’s attributes are out of our reach except one, let me make a case for the one that can be tested despite our constraints in a bit. In this way we can hopefully distance ourselves from the difficulty of defining what mathematics itself is or for that matter how a human mind works. Coming back to the issue of being “satisfied” with “things as they stand”, Science has highlighted the fact that at a certain age the mind is no longer satisfied with “it is what it is”. The prefrontal cortex continues to grow and there are competing theories as to when it peeks but this much is agreed upon, a search for life’s purpose and direction keeps growing with age. Let us quickly go through some other popular themes. Some may ask, if there is a God then won’t it be his or her responsibility to show us the evidence? Yes, indeed that is a logical position. The first thing that needs exploring is this very fact: did God already communicate the evidence/proof for his existence to us, that is all of us? Then there is the “Why doesn't God just show himself”? Apparently to every single person out there. Instead of getting into second-guessing God as to why God doesn’t just show himself to every single person, let’s stay with the evidence for God’s existence. When we meet God, we can always ask that particular question (s) at that time. In the meantime, let us focus on the doable. Besides, once God decides to do that then it is game over and none of what is being discussed will be relevant at that point. Let’s also put aside questions like; why not pray to God and ask him to bend the physical laws of nature? A small demo will do, some may ask. Well, unless the demo is with a running commentary from God himself, it may be of very little use to us. Not to mention the fact that then we will be veering into an on-demand demo from God scenario. Interesting! That old efficacy of prayer again. George Burnap articulated it well. “God governs the universe by fixed and uniform laws, not only for the sake of order but for human good... The fulfillment of every human desire would break up this order and bring everything into disorder and confusion.” And we actually find evidence of this, more on that later … Measuring attributes of God So finally, we will try to narrow down the one attribute of God that can be tested, at least to a certain degree. First up omnipresence. Do we currently have the tools to test God’s omnipresence? Given the fact that we are still struggling to confirm the presence of over 80% of what constitutes the Universe around us, so no, the omnipresence of God is a far cry for now. Similarly, testing for the omnipotence of God has its own set of constraints. Chief among them, linking any event to God, not to mention what level of testable power, within a given event, that can be “witnessed”, will be enough to term it Godlike. And then there is always going to be the issue of the on-demand occurrence of such an event. So, what is left? In fact, there is one attribute of God that can be tested both in terms of the past, the present and the projected future and that is God’s omniscience, which is intelligence and knowledge without measure. We may not have the tools to explore the full extent of God’s intellect, but we can set ourselves realistic criteria which should be sufficiently advanced to be termed Godlike and then try to apply them. This also fits very well within the energy, matter and information trinity of General system theory. We see how the input of data is the key to making any system work. Closely related is the order to create the information for input and the order to initiate the input of the same. More on that can be found here So once again, where do we start? An excellent evergreen question. The most logical place to start testing for Godlike intelligence would be in any possible communication from God, as previously touched upon. Hence, focusing on claims in the name of God will be a good starting point. Here we will be relying on Mr. Occam and his instrument of choice. Before we proceed, it may be a good time to set some ground rules in order to maximize the chances of success. The first logical premise will have to be that the claim is of actual communication as opposed to reporting on such communication from God, in other words, the very word of God where God unambiguously and repeatedly claims to be the author of the communication. The second premise has to be that the communication is intact and in its original form. The reason for this particular condition is pretty obvious. If we can’t have access to the original form, then we will be restricted to merely what is said in the communication and to some extent on who conveyed the message. What we need is to be able to run forensics . This line of thinking, some may feel, is preparing the ground for countering the circular argument criticism of the like, “It is true because the Bible/Quran/Veda says it is true”. Criticism aside, given the modern tools at our disposal, we should be able to test and do a forensic audit for other than what is said in these claims of communication from God. The logical place to start once again must be the major religions of the world because those messages obviously have had the biggest impact. Going by the historical records, the one religious book that can be dated very close to the claimed original events is the Quran. The recent Birmingham manuscripts come to mind. Here again some may say that it is a case of cleverly steering the argument in the favor of one religion. I don’t know about the steering bit, but yes, we should always go where the argument takes us. It is reasonable to assume that if close to two billion people believe in something similar, it is worth investigating first. Some may say, “Surprise, surprise!”. Sarcasm noted, but I am willing to stick my neck out with considerable confidence. Interesting to note that most of those who champion the new Atheism have a special bias reserved for Islam. Do they already know something? So, when do we get to the juicy stuff if there is any? Modern communication protocols One thing I can guarantee you is plenty of juice. So, here is how I will try to build the case. Let me first touch upon how we authenticate the integrity of communication in modern times and then try and build a case for the integrity of the message of the Quran in a layered approach. The believability is tied to individual discoveries that build into literally a tsunami of evidence, and the accrued punch it packs. The so far discovered markers in the Quran point to the fact that there is something for everyone. From the very simple to mind-boggling complication as one would expect from a divine message. The reason for this lengthy context was to try and satisfy as many people along the way and deal with the often-asked questions as we went along. So, here is the important bit. The way we authenticate a modern communication is by embedding metadata in the message itself. That is data that says something about the data being communicated. If we want the data secured, then we encrypt it on top of that. I am not going to devolve too deep into the field of signal transmission or the vast field of encryption but just touch on the principles on which they are based. The Quran’s markers are in fact not only related to these principles but break new grounds in helping us view this field. The layers I referred to have to do with both reading a straightforward text on one hand and becoming aware of the arrangement of this very text in ways that give us additional information. In the same way text mining and text analytics work. The evidence of God for the non-experts but reasonably educated, can be found in this additional information. Interestingly there is enough of it to keep even the experts busy for thousands of years to come, yes, thousands at least. Modern communications rely on packets of information. Every transmission consists of hundreds of these packets which are routed through various nodes of a given network or interconnected networks. The packets leave the point of origin and may or may not follow the same route and then are reassembled at the intended destination point using the header information which contains the metadata attached to each packet. Currently, there is a constant back and forth exchange between the origin and destination points of each message which ensures that all packets are accounted for. The technology is already in place where even this constant cross-checking of packets between the point of origin and the destination point will not be necessary. Simple algebraic equation will be applied to packets themselves and the message as a whole, to authenticate the integrity of messages (s) on arrival. The Quranic transmission, in fact, takes these principles to a whole new level. Early findings This whole thing picked up speed with a chap called Muhammad Fuad Abdul Baqi. Basically, what he did was to index every single word used in the entire Quran. In fact, he did it for Hadith (The claimed sayings of the Prophet of God) books as well, but as one would expect only the Quran exhibits the phenomenon we will be exploring. There are claims for patterns in other religious texts as one would anticipate but those, when compared with the Quran, are like the showing of the proverbial candle to the sun. It’s the sheer quantity and complexity of the discovered data that set it uniquely apart. Not finding the patterns in other books does not mean they lose all value. Not being in their original form has a lot to do with it of course. So, how will we connect all this to the evidence of God? The very fact that not only God in first person is claiming to be the author of the Quran - remember our first premise - but the Author of the Quran throws down the gauntlet to all comers to reproduce a work like it. Still, we are not going to take what Quran says at face value as of yet. Logically, “because the book says so” will make more sense after we first establish the authenticity of the Quran the product. We will initially try to verify and validate the complexity of its content to such an extent that it should point to something way beyond coincidences and firmly in the sphere of a Godlike intelligence. Once the verification process is done, we can then revisit and see what is being said in it and find the connection to the source of the communication. In short, the focus is to get to a framework where evidence of God can be justified, presented and verified. As I previously mentioned, some of you may have been exposed to some aspect of this phenomenon, in both a positive way and a negative manner. What is missing from most understandings is the fact that this thing is several levels deep. A determined skeptic may boohoo one aspect of it but when the larger picture emerges only the very blind will be able to ignore it. Before I introduce the most basic first layer, the word count, it is important to point out that this is not numerology, no memory tricks, no mirrors and certainly no smoke. Just straight up math. What we have is a number of interrelated patterns based on counts and the positioning of words, terms, and letters. The signature of God is in the scale and complexity of these arrangements. In contrast, the most famous of the Bible code is based on Equidistance Letter Sequence (ELS) and that too in well-defined very limited number of boxes. The Quranic patterns are not only several layers deep but touch each and every chapter, verse, word and even letter of the Quran. The reason I will mostly stick with counting/Arithmetic is because in addition to our self-imposed “no experts” constraint, deriving definite and sound conclusions from the various “scientific” verses of the Quran is not always obvious if one lacks the relevant domain knowledge. Given that the natural languages, by definition, are elastic, and a case can always be made to say that is not what the author meant etc. Quran, in fact, has an elegant solution for it. More on that later. Apologies for deferring tolater, but there is so much to cover. The other issue why these references to scientific phenomenon need to be sidelined, is the accusation that a lot of the present discoveries had some references in different ancient manuscripts, both religious and otherwise. Hence the author could have had access to them and thus no miracle. Therefore, we will stick as close to prior as humanly possible. Even though theywould be lottery winning odds to somehow conclude that the author got lucky by not dragging in the mountain of proven wrong references scattered in the same type of sources where he allegedly sourced his scientifically correct descriptions. In the interest of framing the issue accurately allow me one last digress. Before we get into the structural elements of the Quran, it is important to keep in mind two important fundamentals. The first one has to do with the multitude and diversity of rhetorical tools employed in the Quran and second has to do with the number of domains the text tackles. The former sprawls across alliteration, analogy, antiphrasis, antithesis, asyndeton, assonance, cadence, chiasmus, epizeuxis, equivoque, homonymy, hyperbole, isocolon, simile, metaphor, metonymy, palindrome, parenthesis, polyptoton, rhetorical questioning, and synecdoche. The latter takes it to another level. Quran is not only a complete and comprehensive political and economic system on one hand, but the depth and breadth of its narration even covers social and personal mannerisms, including marital discipline. At its core, the Quran establishes rules relating to fair governance, economic equality and resource allocation, inheritance and property rights, criminal justice, astronomy, chemistry, biology, psychology, sociology, business and so on. It was important to go through all that before we get into the numbers and ratios. Quran is a sea of knowledge expressed in the most eloquent manner possible. It is also important to point out that extensive knowledge of the Arabic language is not a must to be able to verify the evidence in question, reason and logic is, which in a way makes the Quran more or less language neutral. So, what is this numbers “game” of the Quran? Layers of the Quranic patterns The order I will be introducing these layers in, is based on my personal understanding and can actually be used in any given combination and quite a bit of overlap should be expected. In fact, we see that almost every discovered pattern extends beyond its core location and touches a number of other points in the Quran. In all probability pointing to a super structure or structures. ... Continued in Part II of III
Philadelphia Eagles (9-7) vs Seattle Seahawks(11-5)
For the third season in a row the Eagles are limping into the playoffs with a multitude of injuries at key positions. But for the first time in those 3 seasons, starting QB Carson Wentz is at the helm and playing at his best. Wentz has won 4 straight must win games against division rivals and leading the Eagles offense complied mostly of backups and practice squad players to over 400 yards of total offense in each game. He will need to extend that winning streak to 5 games this week week against the Seattle Seahawks, the same Seahawks Wentz had his worst game of the season against where he turned the ball over 4 times. Wentz will need to stay hot and play much better than he did in the week 12 loss to the Seahawks. Like that game Wentz will be without his top targets at WR, and starting RG Brandon Brooks and RT Lane Johnson. Unlike last time, Wentz seems to have found a way to win without those key players. Key players have stepped up including Greg Ward and Boston Scott in those wins and they will need to again in their first playoff action of their careers. On the other side of the ball the Eagles will need to do something they have struggled with for years, stop Russel Wilson who is currently undefeated against the Eagles. Wilson has had an outstanding season and should be in conversation for MVP if not for Lamar Jackson’s amazing season. The Eagles defense will need to hold him in check if they hope to win, especially since the Seahawks will be without their top running backs. If the Eagles defense can hold, and Wentz can keep up his hotsteak, we may just see another week of postseason football in the Doug Pederson era with a hot team which can always be dangerous. Go Eagles!
Calling the game on 94WIP and the Eagles Radio Network will be Merrill Reese, the NFL’s longest-tenured play-by-play announcer (42nd season). Joining Reese in the radio booth will be former Eagles All-Pro wide receiver Mike Quick, while Howard Eskin will report from the sidelines.
94.1 FM and 610 AM
Atlantic City/South Jersey
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD
Philadelphia Spanish Radio
Rickie Ricardo, Macu Berral and Gus Salazar will handle the broadcast in Spanish on Mega 105.7 FM in Philadelphia and the Eagles Spanish Radio Network.
Atlantic City, NJ
1020 AM; 101.3 FM
Seahawks Radio Network Steve Raible returns for his 37th season in the radio booth, his 15th as the play-by-play announcer and “Voice of the Seahawks” after 22 seasons as the Seahawks analyst. Hall of Fame quarterback, Warren Moon, returns to the Seahawks radio team for his 15th season as an analyst.
Westwood One will broadcast the game to a national audience with Kevin Harlan on play-by-play and Brian Griese providing analysis and Ross Tucker reporting from the sidelines.
December 12th, 1976 at Veteran's Stadium Philadelphia, PA. Philadelphia Eagles 27 - Seattle Seahawks 10
Seattle Seahawks lead the Philadelphia Eagles (350-319)
Doug Pederson: 0- against the Seahawks
Pete Carroll: 5-1 against Eagles
Coaches Head to Head
Doug Pederson vs Pete Carroll: Carroll leads 3-0
Carson Wentz: Against Seahawks: 0-3
Russell Wilson: Against Eagles: 4-0
Quarterbacks Head to Head
Carson Wentz vs Russell Wilson: Wilson leads 3-0
Records per Stadium
Record @ Lincoln Financial Field: Seahawks lead the Eagles: 4-0
Record @ CenturyLink Field: Seahawks lead 3-2
Rankings and Last Meeting Information
AP Pro 32 Ranking
Eagles No. 11 - Seahawks No. 7
Sunday, Nov 24th, 2019
Seahawks 17 – Eagles 9
In a sloppy rainy game with high winds both QBs struggled, but the Wilson made plays when it counted and got help from running back Rashaad Penny who had a career day running for 129 yards including a 58 yard TD run. The Eagles defense was again fooled by a trick play on a flea flicker which saw Wilson hit Malik Turner for a 33 yard TD. The Eagles offense was terrible struggling to get anything going all day and missing key players including Jeffrey, Jackson, Agholor, Howard, Johnson and Brooks didn’t help. It was the worst game of the season for Wentz who turned the ball over 4 times in the Eagles loss. Russel Wilson continued his dominance over the Eagles and remained undefeated against them in his 8 year career.
Eagles HC Doug Pederson was born in Bellingham, WA, and grew up in Ferndale, WA. Pederson recently admitted that he "Grew up a Seahawks Fan" and used to attend Seahawks games at The Kingdome.
Eagles LBs coach Ken Flajole is from Seattle and previously coached the Seahawks’ DBs (1999, 2001-02) and LBs (2000).
Eagles Safeties coach Tim Hauck played for the Seahawks in 1997.
Eagles Defensive Line coach Phillip Daniels was selected by Seattle in the 4th round of the 1996 NFL Draft.
Seahawks Northeast Area Scout Todd Brunner worked for the Eagles for four seasons (1994-97) as an area scout covering the Northeast. He joined the Eagles as a scouting intern in 1992 and worked as a scouting assistant in 1993.
Eagles CB Sidney Jones attended University of Washington.
Seahawks LB Mychal Kendricks played 6 seasons for the Eagles from 2012-2017 including winning a Super Bowl with him in Super Bowl LII.
With the division on the line, the Eagles controlled their own destiny as they took on the division rival New York Giants on the road. The Eagles were already short and then they lost running back Miles Sanders and three-time Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks in the first half. But Scott, Josh Perkins, Greg Ward, Deontay Burnett and Robert Davis combined for 16 catches on 25 targets, 225 yards receiving, 54 yards rushing and four TDs. The five players were cut a combined eight times by four teams since Aug. 31. But Carson Wentz got the most out of them as he lead the Eagles to their 4th must win game in a row beating the Giants 34-17.
The Seahawks were playing for the division title against the 49ers in week 17 with a playoff spot already locked in for both teams. In the first half, the 49ers dominated, taking a 13–0 halftime lead aided by a Deebo Samuel 30-yard touchdown run on a pitch and catch. The 49ers also held Seattle to just 79 yards of total offense, including stuffing running back Marshawn Lynch on 4th and inches from the 49ers 31-yard line, causing a turnover on downs. In the second half, the Seahawks proved resilient, scoring multiple times. The Seahawks would never lead in this game however, as the 49ers countered every Seahawks score with one of their own, including a Raheem Mostert 13-yard touchdown run to make it 26–14 with 5:51 left. After Seattle cut the lead to five, a questionable personal foul call against Ben Garland forced a punt, giving them the ball back with 2:27 left. They marched all the way down to the 49ers 1-yard line, but a delay of game penalty pushed them back to the 6-yard line. After three incomplete passes, the Seahawks faced 4th and goal. Russell Wilson hit receiver Jacob Hollister with a pass to the 49ers 1-yard line, but Hollister was stopped inches short of the goal line by linebacker Dre Greenlaw, causing a turnover on downs with nine seconds left that sealed the victory.
Referee: Shawn Smith
Including playoffs, Philadelphia has the 2nd-best home winning percentage (.735, 25-9) in the NFL since 2016, trailing only New England (.838, 31-6).
In Week 17, the Eagles totaled 400+ yards for the 4th consecutive game, which is Eagles the longest stretch of 400+ yards since 2013 (6 games).
The Eagles captured their 2nd division title in the last three seasons and 3rd consecutive postseason berth (2017-19).
Philadelphia owns the No. 4 seed in the NFC Playoffs heading into Wild Card Weekend (Jan. 4-5, 2020).
Doug Pederson is the first Eagles head coach to lead his team to three straight postseason appearances since Andy Reid from 2008-10.
Philadelphia has made the playoffs in three-or-more consecutive seasons for the 6th time in team history.
The Eagles have earned a postseason berth for the 27th time in franchise history (since 1933).
Since 2000, Philadelphia is tied for the 4th-most playoff appearances (13) in the NFL, behind New England (17), Green Bay (14) and Indianapolis (14).
The Eagles are NFC East Champions for the 11th time in franchise history.
Philadelphia’s nine NFC East championships since 2001 are the most in the division, ahead of Dallas (5), N.Y. Giants (3) and Washington (2)
OT Andre Dillard
DE L.J. Collier
RB Miles Sanders
S Marquise Blair
WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside
WR DK Metcalf
WR Shareff Miller
LB Cody Barton
QB Clayton Thorson
WR Gary Jennings Jr.
G Phil Hayes
CB Ugo Amadi
LB Ben Burr-Kirven
RB Travis Homer
DT Demarcus Christmas
WR John Ursua
Notable Off-season Additions
WR Desean Jackson
DE Jadeveon Clowney
DT Malik Jackson
DE Ziggy Ansah
DE Vinny Curry
DT Al Woods
DT Hassan Ridgeway
WR Josh Gordon
QB Josh McCown
QB Geno Smith
G Mike Iupati
K Jason Myers
FB Nick Bellore
Notable Off-season Departures
QB “Big Dick” Nick Foles
FS Earl Thomas
DE Michael Bennett
SS Kam Chancellor
DE Chris Long
WR Doug Baldwin
S Chris Maragos
WR Paul Richardson
RB Jay Ajayi
DE Frank Clark
RB Josh Adams
K Sebastian Janikowski
RB Wendell Smallwood
G J.R. Sweezy
DT Haloti Ngata
CB Justin Coleman
DT Shamar Stephen
SS Maurice Alexander
QB Brett Hundley
Pro Football Focus Matchup Charts courtesy of PFF Edge (join.profootballfocus.com/edge/)
The Eagles have not been great at defending the deep ball. Russell Wilson is good at the deep ball. I should just leave it at that, but that’s not what you’re here for. In 2019, Wilson’s averaging the 2nd-highest percentage of total throws targeting 20+ yards downfield (16.5%). Over the previous 3 seasons, Wilson has been 3rd, 2nd, and 8th. His Adjusted Completion % (accounting for drops) is 48.2%, good for 8th. His Passer Rating on Deep Balls is 119.2, good for 4th.
Matchups to Watch
Seahawks Pass Defense vs. the Eagles Pass Offense
Well, now the Eagles are in the playoffs after this tumultuous season. Anything can happen with this team, whether it's one and done or a Super Bowl run. Before we can all think about the future of this postseason, the Eagles need to get by a tough opponent in the Seattle Seahawks. Pete Carroll's Seattle teams, with or without Wilson, has owned the Eagles. That extended into this season with the Seahawks winning an ugly game against the then hapless Eagles. A lot has changed for Philly since then, mainly their success through the air. The Nobodies have stepped up to help Carson eLeVaTe the passing offense as he nearly averaged 300 yard passing per game in the final 4 weeks of the season. Carson has played really well and the coaches stepped up big to help get the passing game going. Their game plan can't, and won't, be a repeat of their early "death by one thousand slant/flats" if they want to win. And the offense can't turn the ball over at the rate they did if they expect to win. This is an athletic pass defense with two great LBs that excel in coverage. The Eagles will need to continue to move the pocket for Wentz to extend the time to throw which will allow deeper shots to open up. Due to personnel, this isn't an offense that can rely on its skill position players to consistently win 1v1. They'll need to continue to be creative in their usage of screens to prevent the defense form keying on them again. If Zach Ertz is able to play, that would be a huge win for the Eagles as he is their best natural separator. Seattle is an easy defense to scheme for as there is very little they change on a week to week basis. It's just being able to hit on the plays they scheme up. One injury for the Seahawks that important to watch is the status of safety Quandre Diggs; he was acquired from the Lions on the cheap (for some reason) and is a key player in their coverage schemes. As of now, the Seahawks should be expecting him to go as he was a full participant in their latest practice report. Either way, this is the 15th ranked passing defense by DVOA. They can be beat through the air. It would be wise for them to build off the game plan the Niners used last week to win in Seattle.
Seahawks Run Defense vs Eagles Running Backs
Philly wasn't able to have a lot of success on the ground the last time they played for a number of reasons. One big reason for that was the injuries on the offensive line - which remains the same for the rematch. Lane Johnson's status for Sunday is still unknown and stud Guard Brandon Brooks landed on IR after the week 17 win against the Giants. The backups have played decently well in reliefof the two key linemen but their absence will always loom large. The variety of concepts the Eagles use in the run game is a big factor in its success as it keeps opposing defenses off-balance. Being down Brooks and Lane could hinder what the Eagles like to do if their replacements can't adequately step up. Moreover, Sanders sustained an injury last week (ankle) and should play, but his effectiveness really won't be known until game time. Since the bye, Sanders has stepped up in a big way when Jordan Howard's shoulder died. Sanders proved he is a capable receiver and pass blocker early on but really improved his ability as a runner very quickly when the team needed him the most. If he is able to be effective on Sunday, that would be a huge boost to the undermanned Philly offense. Additionally, Boston Scott has continued to step up for the Eagles when they need him the most. Scott doesn't profile as an every down back but was able to take that role last week when Sanders left the game. His ability to consistently find the open rush lanes has been paramount to his success. Like Sanders, when Scott is able to get the ball in space he is able to create chunk plays to move the sticks. Jordan Howard returned to the line up last week; while he only played one snap, his ability to now play should help the Eagles rushing attack. This Seattle defensive line is a weak unit that is missing key players. Jadeveon Clowney has been banged up for most of the season and his status for Sunday is questionable. His absence would be a huge boost for the Eagles. This Seattle rushing defense is 26th in DVOA; if the Eagles offensive line was 100% heading into Sunday, this would be the single biggest mismatch in this contest. As it stands now, the Eagles should have enough in their reserves to be effective against this front, but that is a risky bet. They weren't effective in their first meeting - they need to change that to win.
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks Receivers vs the Eagles Secondary
Russell Wilson has owned the Eagles in his career but will be entering Sunday's contest off his worst performance against this team in his career. He was sacked 6 times and was generally inaccurate for most of the game. He struggled to pick up some of the coverage changes the Eagles implemented in their secondary and lead to below average play. He's still Russell Wilson and this is still the Eagles pass defense: you simply cannot bet on the Eagles secondary anymore. Wilson has been a top 2 QB this year in an MVP caliber year carrying the Seahawks to this point in the season. There are very few instances in his time with the Seahawks where the Seahawks are down by double-digits late in a game. This is an Eagles secondary that struggles to stop the big play and cover outside receivers - the Seahawks have two dangerous weapons outside. The Eagles should have everyones favorite terrible CB back for this contest... Jalen Mills. The starter opposite him will be a mystery. Since his early season benching, Sidney Jones has been absolutely clutch for the Eagles on their current run. While his play hasn't been perfect, he's been less of a disaster than he previously was. Avonte Maddox and Cre'von Leblanc are fresh off really good performances against the Giants. If I had to guess, Maddox will start outside and Leblanc will see the slot; Jones would work into the rotation in more CB heavy looks. As previously mentioned, not only was Russ generally inaccurate in the first meeting, his receivers had a lot of key drops as well. Here is a big gain dropped by DK Metcalf. How about this dropped TD by DK Metcalf? Or this bricked layup TD pass from Wilson? My point is this: I generally think the Eagles pass defense, namely the secondary, has been more lucky than good in the second half of the season en route to an NFCE title. They are still here, which is awesome, but until they actually clean up their games it's hard to bet on them succeeding. Russ is one of the best passers in the league; it doesn't matter if he is scrambling or in the pocket, he'll generally eat you alive. This is a WR group, especially with Lockett and Metcalf, that will make defenses pay. They didn't last time, I don't think the Eagles will be so lucky this time. If I'm the Seahawks, I throw early and often. The Eagles defensive ranks against outside WRs: Yards allowed: 32nd, Explosive receptions: 29th, TDs: 29th, Yards per target: 27th. If Pete Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer maintain status quo, like they do for some inexplicable reason, the Eagles have a real chance.
**Seahawks Decimated Offensive Line vs Eagles Pass Rush
The biggest aid to a struggling secondary is a strong pass rush. This is the foundation of the Eagles defense. While it isn't the stupid good group from the Super Bowl, it is still one of the best units in the league in getting pressure. Seattle has had bad offensive lines for years now and the group that'll start on Sunday fits that mold. Stud LT Duane Brown should miss this contest with a knee issue; this is a bad injury for the Seahawks as he is their best offensive lineman. The rest of their group is a well-below average unit that struggles in pass protection. The Eagles were able to get after Russell Wilson with 6 sacks in the first meeting and will need that kind of pressure again. Wilson can still make plays with his arm and legs while under pressure but it's still a difficult task for him. Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham will need to continue to create havoc in the trenches. Derek Barnett must continue to build off his strong outing against the Giants. And if Timmy Jernigan can continue to play well, instead of up and down, then the Eagles should be able to get after Russ like they did Daniel Jones one week ago. The Eagles need to put this Seattle offense in bad situations to help out the secondary and help force some turnovers.
2020 NFL Draft Review - Analysis and Career Predictions for Each Team's Draft Class - NFC West
We roll on with a division-by-division rundown of the 2020 NFL Draft with arguably the best division in football, the NFC West. Catch up on the other installments of this 2020 NFL Draft review series with the AFC South, NFC South, AFC East, NFC East, AFC North, and NFC North. Every year after the draft, I write a way-too-long review of each team’s draft. The purpose of this draft review is to give predictions for the careers of each team’s drafted players. I’ve watched film of each player I’m commenting on. Draft grades are overly optimistic and unrealistic. Unlike the majority of post-draft coverage out there, I will pick busts. Keep in mind that 23.4% of all first-round picks bust. Let me preface this by saying: predicting the career of an NFL draft pick is a ridiculous exercise. There is so much unknown that goes into whether a player succeeds or fails at the next level. I can make educated guesses based on team situation, supporting cast, and research about the prospect’s character and work ethic, but there’s a reason teams make so many mistakes every year. You simply don’t know for sure how a player will react to being a pro. Injuries are also a huge factor in the fate of a player and impossible to predict accurately. Nevertheless, this is a fun exercise and gives us a chance to review how each team approached the draft.
Before we start, here are some of my general thoughts on the 2020 NFL Draft. Quickly on the broadcast - they did a great job given the circumstances. The production quality was great and they did more actual analysis than usual. My main gripe with draft coverage every year is that they don’t show incredible highlights (they somehow didn’t show the Aaron Dobson catch in 2013). This year, they showed more footage of actual football and I appreciated that. The only two negatives for me were the constant tragic stories and Booger McFarland. Oh, and if any poor soul bet on Justin Jefferson Under 21.5 draft position, ESPN should apologize to you. They showed him on the phone celebrating right before cutting to Goodell announcing the 21st pick - Jalen Reagor to the Eagles. Jefferson was of course on the phone with the Vikings, who took him at 22. Brutal beat. As for the draft, remember this tweet about mock drafts being “wronger” than ever? Funny, this was probably the chalkiest first-round ever in the internet age. Nothing was truly shocking to me, including the Packers trading up for Jordan Love (more on that here). I had Damon Arnette in the first round in my first mock draft this draft season. I wrote an article lauding Jordyn Brooks as an undervalued commodity. Noah Ibinoghene going in the first was surprising, I suppose. But there was no Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 or Tyson Alualu at No. 10. It speaks to how the media and internet scouts might be catching up to, or God forbid actually influencing the teams. So here is the next installment of my annual draft review. Each player will receive their career prediction in parentheses following their name. For example: Joe Burrow (5). Here's how the picks break down: 5 – All-Pro: Starter who has performed at an elite level at his position. 4 – Above-Average: Starter who has been among the best at his position. 3 – Solid: Starter or valuable back-up with significant positive production. 2 – Replacement Level: Below-average starter or back-up who made minor contributions. 1 – Bust: Player who didn’t amount to anything positive. Next up, the NFC West.
The Cardinals dealt their second-round pick for one of the best receivers in football in DeAndre Hopkins. When you add that acquisition into their draft haul, it’s one of the most impressive in the entire NFL. At No. 8, the Cardinals went best player available with Isaiah Simmons (4) from Clemson. There were some rumors that Simmons would fall a bit on draft day due to teams not knowing what to do with him. Simmons is a quality football player, but not knowing what position room to put him in is somewhat of an issue. He’s not big enough to bang in the box every down and he’s not as fluid in coverage as the best free safeties. He made a lot of plays blitzing from depth and taking advantage of his absurd size-athleticism mix at the college level. Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables is an extraordinary defensive mind and played him all over the field at every position except defensive tackle. In Arizona I expect Simmons to line up mostly at the second level, doing most of his damage in coverage against tight ends and blitzing. Fitting him in might not be so easy after adding De'Vondre Campbell and Jordan Hicks as off-ball linebackers. I’ll let Vance Joseph figure it out. Simmons can fly and make plays so it will be hard to screw it up. With a need at tackle, the Cardinals chose to take advantage of the depth at the position and wait until the third round to grab Josh Jones (4) of Houston. Jones was the 19th overall player on my board, so I obviously view this pick as a massive steal. Jones didn’t square off against many marquee pass-rushers, so his film was hard to evaluate in terms of translating to the next level. He won the vast majority of his matchups, showing sound technique, but few crazy displays of domination. He surely graded out well and moves well enough for me to endorse him as a quality starting left tackle in Arizona. People make a big deal about quarterbacks and wide receivers transitioning from spread offenses, but it’s also a whole new game for offensive linemen. With Kliff Kingsbury’s scheme taking a lot from the college game, Jones will be coached similar techniques to what he was taught at Houston. Great pick. A year after making the wise decision to jettison Josh Rosen and draft Kyler Murray, the Cardinals put together a solid draft. They are talented enough to compete with the heavyweights in the NFC West, but maybe a year away from a playoff appearance.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams essentially used their first-round pick on Jalen Ramsey, who probably would have gone 3rd overall in this draft class. Dealing a first for a veteran with a huge contract is always risky, especially with a highly (and possibly over) paid quarterback. They came into the draft needing help on defense. I don’t think they got much. When I originally sat down and watched Cam Akers, I became disgusted with the Florida State offense. To say it was a mess is an understatement. Akers made mistakes as well, which made me sour on him quite a bit. I originally ranked Akers 9th in my running back rankings and was met with a fury. I had to go back and watch. You were all right. I had fallen in the same trap I warn draftniks about all the time - valuing college performance too much, and traits too little. If Cam Akers (4) has any work ethic at all, he’s going to have Pro Bowl seasons with Sean McVay. His traits are actually good enough that he can be an All-Pro if things break right. Akers’ fundamentals and technique were subpar at Florida State. My coaching side also didn’t like his lack of ball security. However, it’s difficult to blame him with how poorly coached everyone else looked. Athletic and fast with decent hands, Akers has acceleration and creativity traits that translate to the NFL. He can break tackles and hit home runs. He’ll overtake Darrell Henderson right away as the Rams’ 1A back. I am glad I went for a second look. He is going to be a fantasy stud in the Rams zone running scheme. 📷 Van Jefferson (2) has the pedigree and route-running skills to be a quality NFL receiver. When asked to run routes with real breakpoints, he showed the body control and agility that can work in the NFL. However, the constant issue in his film is the lack of separation down the field. When schemed into shallow crosses and screens, Jefferson was productive, showing good hands. The top-end speed wasn’t there, and he doesn’t project as much of a run-after-catch threat. There is little evidence on film that he can get off press, but he has the demeanor that could work. I expect him to become a just-a-guy possession receiver. Terrell Lewis (2) has traits that play in the league, but he is going to need time to develop. The scariest thing about Lewis is his injury history. On the field, he shows dynamic athleticism and ideal twitch. However, he doesn't execute his gap assignments particularly well and will struggle to defend the run in the NFL. As a rotational edge rusher, it could work, but a lot of his sacks came on inside stunts. Lewis is a developmental project who needs to stay healthy and get stronger to make any positive impact. Straight from my Terrell Burgess (3) notes: “quick and good.” Burgess projects as a slot corner or sub-package safety. He has hip fluidity, good feet, and covered tight ends well at Utah. I don’t expect him to be a plus in run defense. That Utah secondary was crazy. The Rams paid Jared Goff and now have to live with the consequences. The 49ers have the most talent, Russell Wilson isn’t going anywhere, and the Cardinals are young with a franchise quarterback. The NFC West is probably the best division in football, and if Jared Goff doesn’t play better, the former hottest coach in the NFL will be looking at back-to-back seasons with no playoffs.
San Francisco 49ers
The defending NFC Champions traded away DeForest Buckner for the 13th-overall pick, giving them two first-rounders. They ended up trading down just one spot to No. 14 and actually using their original first to move up to No. 25. Overall they made just five picks, but with John Lynch’s body of work, fans have reason to be excited. Out goes Buckner, and in comes his replacement in Javon Kinlaw (4). Kinlaw was my No. 1 interior defensive lineman and 17th-ranked player on my board. He’s big and athletic with an inconsistent get-off. When he times up and correctly leverages his explosion off the ball, he’s very good. He can penetrate gaps, fight versus doubles, and bench press blockers off him. He showed a powerful bull rush against the Alabama right guard. The most underrated aspect of Kinlaw’s game is his ability to get his paws on passes. He can also block field goals. The 49ers' defensive line will continue to be a force. Trading up for Brandon Aiyuk (3) was extremely interesting considering the depth of this wide receiver class. John Lynch admitted they consideredCeeDee Lamb at No. 13, but also would have been fine taking Aiyuk there. Get your guy, I guess. I do like Aiyuk, so I won’t bash the move at all. Aiyuk reminds me of Dez Bryant. He’s a competitive player with strong hands and good footwork in terms of breakpoints. My final note: he’s a stud, just needs to clean up some technique. Unfortunately, I do not believe he will unlock his full potential as the third receiving option in a run-heavy attack. He takes a while to get going, is a little clumsy, and showed some very sloppy release work at the line. A related observation: the special teams coordinator at Arizona State was excellent. The 49ers had a ten-point lead in the second half of the Super Bowl and return most of their starters. Yes, they lost Joe Staley, but they gained Trent Williams. Yes, they lost DeForest Buckner, but they gained Javon Kinlaw. John Lynch is doing a fantastic job.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider had an all-time great draft class in 2012 but hasn’t hit on a single first-round pick since. He has been below-average at drafting during that time, as Seahawks fans have seen a once-loaded roster deteriorate into essentially a one-man team. Just as bad, Pete Carroll continues to ignore math and put too much emphasis on running the football (ironic). Defensively, his tendency to play three linebackers on the field together too much has also hurt them. So of course with their first-round pick, they took an off-ball linebacker. I wrote this article about “my guys” before the draft. Jordyn Brooks (4) was the first guy I featured. I believe he can be an impact pro, and he actually reminds me of Bobby Wagner a bit. However, it is tough to defend a Super Bowl contender taking an off-ball linebacker, likely pointing to keeping three linebackers on the field for too many snaps yet again. I do believe in the player though. Brooks plays fast, can key and diagnose, and has tremendous power on contact. When he meets a back in the hole, he drives him back. They liked to blitz him at Texas Tech, taking advantage of uncommon movement skills and acceleration. Against Oklahoma, he struggled a bit, primarily used to spy Jalen Hurts. However, the fact his coaching staff gave him that assignment is telling. I predict he’ll be an excellent pro. If they’re going to play three linebackers, at least one of them will be fast enough to keep up with Kyler Murray. In the second round, the Seahawks traded up for Darrell Taylor (2) of Tennessee. When I began writing the “my guys” article, Taylor was supposed to be the second player I featured. I watched his film again simply looking for a highlight to make a gif of and became so unimpressed with Taylor that I decided to write about someone else. It was mainly Taylor’s film against Alabama that turned me off. The flip-flopping puts me in a ridiculous spot. I went back a third time and kind of liked him more again. Taylor can bend and his profile fits the Seahawks LEO position perfectly. He showed inconsistent handwork but generally was powerful on the edge with enough speed to keep tackles honest. He showed an ability to finish plays and force turnovers, something a lot of edge prospects struggle to do. There was an odd delay getting off the ball on almost every snap against BYU, but he showed a quick get-off in other games. Only one thing is for sure - he’s better than L.J. Collier. In the third, the Seahawks took my 92nd-ranked player in LSU guard Damien Lewis (2). Lewis will likely fit right in with Seattle’s underachieving offensive line. He’s good on double teams and has good enough feet to mirror but that’s about it. His functional strength and anchor is below average, getting knocked down by a blitzer and walked back by just one of Derrick Brown’s arms. Anything powerful gets him off-balance. There were better players on the board. 📷 The Seahawks pride themselves in trading down and making picks against the consensus. It has not worked out at all in recent years. It would be a shame if their mishandling of drafts continues throughout Russell Wilson’s career. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for the final division, the AFC West, in the coming days. NFC West Article with gifs: https://www.rotoballer.com/2020-nfl-draft-review-and-team-grades-nfc-west/737289 AFC South: https://www.rotoballer.com/2020-nfl-draft-review-and-team-grades-afc-south/736898 NFC South: https://www.rotoballer.com/2020-nfl-draft-review-and-team-grades-nfc-south/736460 AFC East: https://www.rotoballer.com/2020-nfl-draft-review-and-team-grades-afc-east/736202 NFC East: https://www.rotoballer.com/2020-nfl-draft-review-and-team-grades-nfc-east/735919 AFC North: https://www.rotoballer.com/2020-nfl-draft-review-afc-north/735564?src=cat_feat_9954 NFC North: https://www.rotoballer.com/2020-nfl-draft-review-and-team-grades-nfc-north/734932
[Kickstarter watching] Project Phoenix, the rise and fall of Kickstarter's FIRST Japan-based video game project!
Full disclosure, I'm a backer for this. I've also backed a number of other games on KS and most of them actually did really well (Bloodstained yay!). Something I love doing from time to time is going through video game Kickstarter projects to see what cool things developers might be coming up with. Some turn out okay, others, well, not so okay. KS project deaths can be be quick and brutal and some would-be creators know when to call it quits when things don't work out. Some move on or find another way to see their dream project realized making lemonade out of lemons. Some don't. The ones that linger can mutate, becoming a shambling mass of what-could-have-been occasionally moaning a hint of whatever former life it may have once had to anyone within earshot, prodded by the pulse of the occasional update haunting email inboxes. Project Phoenix is one of the latter.
A few helpful terms:
Kickstarter - well known crowdfunding site. All money amounts mentioned here are in USD.
CIA - Creative Intelligence Arts, the studio created to build Project Phoenix.
game engine - the backbone for a game. Two of the most popular engines are Unity and Unreal and both were used to some extent by Project Phoenix. It's like the foundation for a house.
AAA - designation used to describe studios such as Activision, Electronic Arts, Rockstar, Nintendo, Naughty Dog, etc.. These are like the First World tier developers of the game industry. Then you have everyone else. Does not necessarily describe skill or talent (AAA studios/devs create doo doo like anyone else). Think of it as shorthand to describe the economic might and studio size footprint behind a title. Undertale is not a AAA title, for example. But something like Grand Theft Auto V is. Does not tow cars or jump start cold ones in winter.
JRPG - Japanese Role-playing Game (ex: Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy series, Persona series, Shining Force series)
2.5D - perspective that includes 2D elements and 3D elements. Examples would include many of the early 90s FPS games like Doom to more modern uses such as Square Enix's Octopath Traveler which used 2D characteNPC art set against 3D backdrops in the world such as deserts, mountain roads, towns and villages.
Some games mentioned:
Final Fantasy Tactics - developed by Squaresoft (today, Square-Enix) for the PlayStation in the 90s. Considered a classic.
Shining Force - developed by Climax Entertainment for Sega's Genesis/Mega Drive system. Tactical JRPG series considered an early classic of the 90s.
Shadowrun Returns - created by Jordan Weisman and his team at Harebrained Schemes. Weisman is the original creator of the Shadowrun tabletop in the late 80s, early 90s under FASA. Microsoft now owns the Shadowrun property but Weisman was able to get a license to make a game for it. Returns is a tactical, turn-based RPG based on the Shadowrun universe in the the 2050s timeframe. Followed up by two more successful entries that were also Kickstarted, Shadowrun: Dragonfall and Shadowrun: Hong Kong (I backed this one).
KS maintains old projects for reference so the names and events here are public knowledge. As one of the backers, I also have access to the "backer only" updates, so I provided some context from those here, too. The same with the referenced articles from outside sources that have looked in on this weird saga from time to time. Pledges were made, backers followed the promises, and a professional musician becomes the head of his first video game studio. Wanna take a ride?
Oh hey! This is cool!
On August 12th, 2013, Project Phoenix popped up on Kickstarter (KS going forward). This was during a heady era of KS investment following the wild success of projects like Tim Schafer's Broken Age in 2012 which garnered a whopping $3+ million in donations. It, with others, drove a rebellious wave of excitement over what what seen as a fresh, new take on funding games that "AAA" studios may have found too risky, leveraging the connectedness of the internet and the dreams of anyone looking to bring something of theirs to life at the time. Effusive hype bled into projects like Project Phoenix touting itself as "Japan's indie RPG feat. AAA talent!" and as "a JRPG with squad based RTS game design, brought to you by veteran developers and creators from the East and West" with a targeted release in mid-2015. It featured a large roll of people with direct experience in the industry. The director and producer was a professional musician, Hiroaki Yura, who had worked on titles like Valkyria Chronicles. Years later in an interview with Gamespot, he would confess that even though he had never shipped a game himself before, his peers in the industry encouraged him to embark on this grand Kickstarter adventure to realize a game idea he had been nursing. The quest would even be joined by the famous Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy series) as the lead composer. The creative side was bolstered with a number of artists and sound engineers but the programming side had an "unknown" portrait as that person was "one of the leading Unity programmers in the world" whose identity couldn't be made known until "late in the development process". That same Gamespot interview with Yura by Gamespot would reveal that the programmer was David Clark who, at the time, was also working on Ori and the Blind Forest. An even earlier article by Kotaku's Jason Schrier in 2015 had also mentioned Clark. As backers, though, we had no idea just who this mystery programmer was. Clark would simply be referred to with a flattering reverence often reserved for holy figures by Yura, a theme we would become too familiar with over the next few years. Project Phoenix exploded past its initial funding goal of 100k and then some, making a little over a million and change. A separate web page featuring a PayPal donation link was even set up for those "late" to the party. Nearly 16k eager JRPG fans pledged to see what would come next.
2013 - 2014
The next several months following the end of the campaign were a flurry of activity. New staff joined the team, a test video of the animation was shown off, more art was shared along with world-building fiction. Project Phoenix even garnered a mention on Classic FM as part of its "12 video game soundtracks you have to hear in 2014" featuring Nobuo Uematsu. Things seemed to be hopping! On September 10th, 2013, Hiroaki Yura also held an AMA on Reddit where, when asked by a backer concerned over the lack of specifics, he answered that Project Phoenix was to "set an example in Japan, just like how Supergiants Games did with Bastion, what a small team of dedicated individuals can do with a game". In another reply, Yura hoped to surpass what inspired them in the first place citing titles such as "Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy Tactics Ogre, StarCraft and Warcraft, C&C series, DotA/LoL." The hype was reaching Peter Molyneux DEFCON levels. The first odd sign this wasn't your typical KS video game project was when they suddenly made an announcement for an anime called "Under the Dog" on August 18th, 2014, which was also a Kickstarter project. CIA (the company Hiroaki Yura formed to build Project Phoenix) was collaborating with another company to produce the anime episode and pursue a series. It would even have a "special collaborative item reward in Project Phoenix." And just as he had done with Project Phoenix, Yura also did an AMA on Reddit for Under the Dog, describing hopes for it to break free of the typical establishment shackles and pave the way for a new method of creating animation by keeping it under the greater control of those making it. There was even interest in making a game based off of the anime if it took off successfully. A backer or two over on the Project Phoenix campaign page wondered if the company might be spreading itself thin like this, but for the most part, most everyone had faith in Phoenix to keep the course.
2015 - "...an assumption to rely on works by volunteers"
Long story short, Under the Dog was successfully funded and would later be released some time later. Yet at the time in February, 2015, something bubbled up in the news over at Siliconera (who focus a lot on covering Japanese-related game content). It was reported that both CIA and Kinema Citrus (the studio working on Under the Dog) parted ways with CIA due to 'creative differences'. The new producer taking over from Hiroaki Yura, Koji Morimoto (a veteran of the anime industry), had also discovered the following:
"I found out: 1) there is a high possibility of rewards costing more than the initial estimates (since there were expensive rewards such as figurines, etc. being included), and 2) there was practically no budget set aside for the operational costs—probably based on an assumption to rely on works by volunteers. Those were the major concerns for me and that’s why I needed to check the financial aspect of the project first."
A few days later, an update on Project Phoenix's merch store (yes, they were planning a merch store while the game was barely an alpha at this point) wrote "nothing on UTD will affect Project Phoenix going forward". Under the Dog would also never be mentioned again. It also noted they would be "posting applications for recruitment on the project, so if you have experience in creating a game keep your eye out for the next update." This was a bit worrying. By early 2015, the most that backers had gotten was a lot of announcements, art, an underwhelming vertical slice, and a tiny card-based mini-game. Fans were concerned but still had faith that it could work. The solid quality of the art concepts (and the music samples) helped. Still, others were starting to worry, especially in the face of other projects that were leaving their nurseries that year while Project Phoenix seemed to be dragging its virtual feet. It also didn't help that the project was putting out the call for Unreal engine programmers signaling that they were shifting gears from Unity. Again, the reasons why would only become clear a few years later from that Gamespot interview in 2017 and Jason Schrier's piece in 2015. In both, it was explained that with the success of Ori and the Blind Forest, Clark was no longer able to commit to Project Phoenix leaving it scrambling for talent. But as Hiroaki Yura put it then:
Unity had a lot of under-developed tools we need to create the game so our team made a decision to move to UNREAL which would cut development time and mess a lot.
In March, 2015, a "backers only" update came out emphasizing the time needed to transition to the new engine. Changing game engines mid-project is almost never a great thing. It can be akin to deciding, part way through building a house, that maybe you want to change the foundation and where the basement was. That's also money down the drain. For some projects, this is enough to kill them -- or at least force them to rescope just what they need to do such as making a smaller game than was intially envisioned. Updates were also becoming infrequent. Sometimes a month would pass without word. In another apologetic update from Yura, he wrote of using "personal funds" to create concept art for a "very very famous animator" to animate "in a very awesome way" (AFAIK, that never happened or was shown to anyone). In August, another new name dropped into the project to keep us updated and demonstrating a new video with gameplay. Backers were again underwhelmed. The update even mentioned that they "currently lack someone to edit some opener logos, music, and disclaimers so please use your imagination". The suggested lack of professionalism from "AAA talent" was eating away at backers' confidence in the project. Some would go on to say:
It blows my mind that after all this time this is what you guys can show. Other projects did better with less funding. I get it, placeholders, WIP, whatever. The gameplay looks unoriginal and boring, the mechanics don't inspire anything or make me want to play it. I still regret having backed this project, my hopes of it becoming good are completely gone. what is this shit? It went from promising a Final Fantasy Tactics/Tactics Ogre SRPG to THIS?!?! Are you kidding me? I am NEVER backing another videogame on Kickstarter.
By December, the project had to "clarify" that they actually do have a programmer on the team after previous updates made it seem like they were scrambling to find one. In practice, though, the programmer wasn't a full hire and was participating in the project only sporadically with "his current work" apparently "delaying his full commitment here by about 2 months" and pushing the estimates for completing the game "2.5 years from the time we get our full-time programmer on board". Nobuo Uematsu was apparently still doing music for the game and there was hope he would show up in a future video. Updates on his progress would eventually dry up, too. And despite Classic FM's previous optimism, we didn't get that epic soundtrack to listen to in 2014 aside from a few samples. There was also a note on refunds and how they weren't considering those "at this time" because it meant "to give up on the project since there would be no money left to complete it." Kotaku's Jason Schrier posted an article that December as well, two days later on the 11th. In it, and from an email that Yura had sent over in response to questions Schrier had about the project, he revealed that they had been waiting (for a bit over two years now) for David Clark to come onto the project after Ori. That didn't happen. Yura, as usual, cited Clark as a "good friend of mine" and a "godly programmer", but now had to find a new programmer. One thing Yura notes in his email to Schrier is that they were "making this game part time". Nowhere in the original campaign proposal was this made clear, other than in saying in ambiguous terms "Many of them have taken time out of their personal schedule to contribute their expertise towards Project Phoenix's success. So while everyone has donated a lot of their time, there’s only so much more we can do for free." while later stating "Luckily, we have industry veterans on staff who are reliable, not only in the art of programming, but also in the art of project management." None of which seemed to be working in their favor.
Yura and friends seemed to still trying to figure out staffing heading into the year but they eventually did get a programmer proficient in Unreal tech, Daniel Dressler, which was announced in February, 2016. After that, there's not much to say about 2016. The drought of real updates was concerning but in hindsight, there was probably a good reason why. One could almost say, it was a "tiny" glimpse of things to come. Because meanwhile, in another corner of the Kickstarter universe, a game called TINY METAL showed up in September. Created by AREA 34 who were "based out of Los Angeles", the game was asking for 50k in funding to create what was observers regarded as a spiritual successor to the popular Advance Wars from the Game Boy Advance, a fan favorite, JRPG-based tactical, turn-based splash from 2001. The studio had a whole roster of AAA talent, too. It was like this studio came out of nowhere to tackle a classic thirst for chibi tanks. TINY METAL failed to meet its funding goal of 50k but they mentioned that they had managed to secure funding from elsewhere to at least build a basic game and that was what they would continue moving forward with.
On April 23rd, an update explaining The Pathfinder class arrived. But below the class description was something unexpected -- a breakdown of what was going on with the development of Project Phoenix from the money end written by Daniel Dressler. In it, he described how much less money there was to work with. Roughly 260k was off the top of that million+ figure for KS fees, PayPal fees, and fake pledges that didn't come through. In order to fulfill things like physical rewards, 350k of what was left would be set aside and "will not be touched". If Koji Morimoto were a ghost, he would probably be moaning in the background as these words were read. That left roughly half a million in change by their estimates to fund development in 2013. But the thing that crippled the finances for the project was the decision to go fully 3D from 2.5D once they were flush with funding. Costs ballooned. Also mentioned was that "The programming was going to be done by a genius, once he finished up work on this other major indie game" (again, likely a reference to David Clark who would no longer be joining the project and which, as a reminder, they waited nearly two years to join them). To help cover the extra costs, Yura allegedly invested 500k of his own money earned from his music work back into the project. Towards the end, mention is made of a "tiny project" whose success would mean that "private investors" would invest "significant capital into Project Phoenix". These mystery moneymakers funded the creation of a new staff and a new project. And like clockwork, no one really put two and two together until much later. Again, there were more than a few backers that were upset:
Thank you for the update. I know you will never read this but that's only fair since I'm adding this project name to my junk filter because the money I gave you (well not you Daniel since you came in 3.5 years in to the project and are now the de facto spokesperson) is not worth the frustration of seeing Kickstarter emails in my mailbox only to find out it is this project and it is still in development... It sounds like the entire development was a house of cards predicted on getting some anonymous "genius" to do most of the work for little or no money, and having to actually hire people caused your entire budget to fall apart. What utterly inept project management... Thanks for the update. It's a constant reminder why I never buy into a kickstarter project anymore. Keep it up!
And again, Kotaku's Jason Schrier reported on this particular update, saying "Although this campaign always seemed shady to me—too many sketchy claims and lofty promises—it’s a bummer that 15,802 backers will never get their money back." Dressler's explanation compared Project Phoenix's troubles as broadly similar to those that every other project faced. From a certain perspective, he's not wrong. Many crowdfunded projects faced the same general issues especially as more money came in. But as time went on, the Potemkin villages dotting CIA's countryside would slowly come apart in the face of other projects that didn't fit the narrative such as Harebrained Scheme's Shadowrun Returns (and its subsequent sequels). All Kickstarted successfully and each one made in Unity. But one reply came from a developer who was also a backer who offered their time to help get the project back on track and urging contact.
Every word I've heard, from this and other updates, signify huge red flags to me. Your mini project will not be enough. You need an efficient pipeline. Contact me if you are serious about finishing this game.
Others would chime in and urge CIA to take them up on their offer of help. Because of CIA's penchant for vagueness (har har), one question on backers' minds was whether any money from Project Phoenix, since it was in such dire straits at this point, had gone over to this mysterious game. While the money didn't go into building someone's house, going to a wholly different project wasn't a great prospect, either. On June 12th, Hiroaki Yura released another update clarifying that their new project was not using funds from Project Phoenix and was a concept developed with Dressler "several years ago". The game was to be a "proof of concept" to demonstrate an ability to deliver a "successful game", convincing the potential investors backing this strategy title to back Project Phoenix. Because of this, he noted, "progress on Project Phoenix has slowed temporarily as a result". And remember that developer who offered their help in April? They also had something to say in response to this update.
I talked with Mark, who is a backer like all of us and volunteers his time to CIA. He relayed to me that Hiro saw my offers and isn't interested as their "problem doesn't lie with project management"...
...and goes on to say...
...so unless this project has somehow transcended how video games are made and discovered a new set of issues, they are simply not interested in the supporters, or finishing this project as their first priority. I lost $120 on this, nowhere near what some have, but I don't feel right sitting back and saying nothing.
Then in September, PC Gamer interviewed Yura at PAX West 2017 where he was promoting a game called TINY METAL as CEO of the studio in charge of making it (now referred to as AREA 35 instead of AREA 34). So maybe it wasn't surprising that a few months later on November 15th, a "backers only" update appeared in the Project Phoenix campaign for that same game. If you haven't already guessed, this was their "tiny project". Although the game started making the publicity rounds earlier in 2017 as far back as May for the Nintendo Switch, Hiroaki Yura, CIA, or any association with the project was left a vague breadcrumb trail. AREA 34 had listed completely separate roster of developers who were cited instead in press releases and its own updates on their KS page. Now it appeared Yura was promoting TINY METAL as a second Christmas for the studio's survival. Yura urged backers to try out the demo for TINY METAL. For backers who thought they deserved a copy of the game, the reply was that doing so would "be in breach of our terms of agreement with both the major stakeholder groups of the project; our investors and our publisher." which, predictably, didn't sit well with more than a few of them. Then Yura wrote the following:
Unties, the publisher of TINY METAL and a division of Sony Music Entertainment has already expressed interest in publishing Project Phoenix. We are so close. This is the first time to tell anyone outside my friends, but I am going through a lot with my personal life and I have been separated from loved ones at the moment, and it is honestly one of the worst experiences in my life... and going through an extremely hard ordeal. Been beaten by backers about Project Phoenix that I lied and cheated is one thing, as I understand how some people feel about me and honestly, I feel responsible and deserve the beating. However, been beaten when you try to reach for something to keep a promise, and sacrificing so much... losing my family and at the same time protecting the families of my staff, is the biggest challenge I've faced yet in my life. So just this once, please look carefully at the work we've put in. TINY METAL is our only salvation. With so little resources, many staff from Project Phoenix has toiled to make a simple yet fun little game and this is our result. If you truly like what we've made, please help us, we need all the help we can get. We don't want your money, we just need you to tell your friends and family.
Gauging the backer replies, while a few were understanding, many others were not:
...You stole our money. Failing a project is fine but to stop making the game altogether and making another game with the money is damn right disgusting. This is a dead horse you keep beating. Yes, the horse ate our money, shat on us and then died. But it is definetly dead. Please make your peace with that and move on.
But there were also supportive words there, too:
Remember the story of the Phoenix, and you can rise from the ashes after tragedy. I believe in you. <3 This project is clearly a train-wreck, and is having a real effect on those involved. Some of these comments, however, are just gross.
After the November update, something new appeared on Project Phoenix's Facebook page. Tariq Lacy, a former employee of AREA 35 (the Japanese indie studio working on TINY METAL) who had been working there for a few months, put up a post essentially saying that Hiroaki Yura and his company, CIA, had used funds from Project Phoenix to make TINY METAL. Although Yura and Dressler repeatedly said in the past year that TINY METAL was funded by sources outside of Project Phoenix, the long delays and lack of real progress had already incensed furious backers waiting for the other shoe to drop. Lacy's story was all the proof some needed. In return, Yura accused Lacy of "being a toxic employee who has sexually harassed our female staff amongst many other problems" which he later apologized for. Lacy's entry was "factually incorrect" and deleted but not before some news outlets noticed, setting the stage for a little Mortal Kombat. In a Twitter conversation with PC Gamer following the news, Lacy also noted that AREA 35 and CIA are one and the same. Not only that, but they were also in the same building with "shared office space and PCs". Replying to this piece of information, Yura confirmed that both companies are at the same address but both have "different staff and purpose." Further:
"CIA’s core business is audio production and Area 35 is game and animation development," he said. "We used to have CIA do all of the above but we needed corporate identity and clarity hence we separated the companies. We have absolutely no money from CIA that went into Area 35, it was created by our own money from the executives." The majority of Area 35, he added, is held by himself and a partner."
Then the studio's project manager, Gian Carlo Peirce, replied to PC Gamer in an email adding:
"Creative Intelligence Arts has held onto enough funds to create the backer rewards and their fulfillment, but the development funding has been exhausted. We’re not the first and we won’t be the last Kickstarter to have these kinds of challenges, but we’re committed to seeing it through with a quality game..."
Dressler, who also worked on TINY METAL, had a post on Steam, now preserved by the Internet Archive, refuting the accusations of a former staff member that AREA 35/CIA embezzled funds from Project Phoenix. He also noted that the "entire portion of the project phoenix development budget was invested into development ages before I even joined the company." At least now backers knew why updates for Project Phoenix that year were so glacial. Or had a pretty good guess. Then, according to an interview with Siliconera in December, TINY METAL also needed to sell 150k copies to "resurrect" Project Phoenix. In the interview, Yura throws the work that Airborne Studios (the company CIA used for art assets early on) under tank treads by saying "We aren't happy at all, it looks too cheaply made." going on to say later answering another question "We felt, although we did our best with Airborne, it's not their fault. In terms of the pipeline, it's nobody's fault. It's my fault because I did not prepare enough money for that failure. I did not prepare enough time for that failure. I accept that. I would never blame the artists or the pipeline." When pressed to answer what the studio would do if the sales target came short 50k units, Yura replied:
We don’t need to discuss our internal business decisions. There are a lot of things I can’t tell you about. What I can tell you, in general, is this is not the only thing we do. We have other jobs that will basically feed us. That 50,000 [units] would be nice to concentrate on this, but if we can’t do that we can do recordings. We can do other work. We can do programming work for other companies. If we make the right game we hope, it will sell. If we don’t, it won’t sell. Then it will be another challenge to get Project Phoenix’s budget.
A few days before TINY METAL's release, Gamespot posted an interview with Hiroaki Yura who provided the publication with documented proof that the game was funded by investment outside Project Phoenix. As mentioned earlier, this was one of interviews (along with Jason Schrier's) who revealed who the "genius" level programmer Unity programmer was along with some other tidbits. About funding Project Phoenix should TINY METAL do well:
...We were first introduced to Sony during the work on Project Phoenix, and though this is not official, verbally we agreed that if Tiny Metal does well, then we will probably work on Project Phoenix.
...and then on why he started the project:
...I've got lots of friends who've worked on the AAA side of the industry, and when I spoke to them about it, they wanted to do it. And then they all pointed to me to produce and direct it, because I'm bilingual. But the thing is, I've never delivered a game, but I've had backing from Uematsu-san, several key artists from Square-Enix who've worked on Final Fantasy, people from the Warcraft team--it was just sort of overwhelming.
...and on what led to the first major delay with Project Phoenix because of the art:
...It wasn't A1's fault, but I think the visual design was too 'chibi,' like super-deformed. It looked too immature, and the content of the game was much more mature than that. So we were running out of budget, we were running out of time, so we announced our delay and we started planning for [Tiny Metal] to try and make money for Project Phoenix.
TINY METAL was released on December 21st, 2017 after a short delay and published by Sony's Unties garnering relatively solid, if not enthusiastic, response from critics in general and players on Steam. Months passed with the next update arriving on July 31st, 2018, dropping another bombshell with Japanese courts confirming that Lacy's charges against AREA 35 were bogus and legally requiring him to publish a public apology. Although Lacy's claims of embezzlement were ruled untrue, it didn't explain why Yura and Dressler created a fog of war over their relationship with TINY METAL as far back as early 2017, opting instead to cryptically drop hints from time to time as if this were an adventure game from Sierra On-Line. Though, judging from a number of backers' furious reactions when the curtains were finally drawn back, the reasons why might not be that surprising.
"BRING OUT YOUR DEAD" ("But I'm not dead...!")
The last update for Project Phoenix was March 26th, 2019, where Yura wrote that they were "currently cultivating the programming team, but before we're able to fully recommit to Project Phoenix, we're working on titles independent of this project." No mention of genius level programmers, an Academy Award™ winning sound engineer, or very, very good animators was made though he noted that Nobuo Uematsu was still contributing music. Six more artists were also joining the team led by Takuya Suzuki, a former artist at Blizzard, along with Erasmus Brosdau formerly of Crytek, to start creating world assets "sometime later this year". Once those are done, he writes, "we hope to have our programmers ready to take on the task." There was also no further mention of whether the physical rewards were even a thing at this point, the 350k part of the budget that was set aside to cover those. Maybe backers did get them and just decided not to say anything making it another unsolved mystery (Robert Stack not included). By now, more than a few of those with access to the project and able to post replies to the Kickstarter updates do this instead:
CIA/Hiroaki Yura did answer a question about whether there might be a new roadmap to which someone replied:
The balls on you, seriously! " It's going to be very turbulent ahead, but we definitely want to nail down this game." Are you getting a good chuckle out of this, Hiro?
There have been no further updates since though people are still leaving refund demands as recently as January, 2020. But there was one update outside of Project Phoenix. A few months after that March update, a sequel to TINY METAL, TINY METAL: FULL METAL RUMBLE, was released by AREA 34 (and developed by AREA 35) on PCs and the Nintendo Switch on July 11th. As for whether this game will actually resurrect Project Phoenix, it's probably a safe bet at this point that it hasn't.
Nearly seven years later, Project Phoenix has metamorphed into a zombie trainwreck washed up by the tide of exuberance during Kickstarter's peak video game era, becoming another example of a massive KS failure in the video gaming space. Through a variety of factors, it somehow burned through a million dollars of goodwill -- more once you account for Yura's alleged injection of capital -- and attempted to survive with a secret project quietly built behind AREA 34/35 names and rosters as a byzantine Plan B for their funding woes. From what can be told going through the (now largely outdated) staff list still posted at their campaign page and the few names that came up during their staffing spree years ago, most of the principals have either moved on to other work (one former artist is now working on James Cameron's Avatar 2, Airborne went on to do work on titles like Apex Legends, Dressler is working on a new game). Others continued doing what they do outside of the project (their "day jobs") likely having fulfilled whatever contractual obligations they had at the time and few if any of them mention their association with Project Phoenix nowadays. Project Phoenix's .info page now exists only as a largely abandoned forum, a bare shadow of its former self. Its Twitter has remained silent since the last announcement. Responses to the last news on its Facebook page varied from disbelief to shock and happiness that it was still a thing before silence descended once more. A few people out there are still excited to get alerts on the project. The only activity on its campaign page are demands for refunds. Even Hiroaki Yura's twitter doesn't mention the project at all aside from his bio linking to the nigh abandoned .info page. But in an interview with Escapist Magazine in November of last year, he referred to Project Phoenix as a "snafu", a lesson learned informing him on what ventures to pursue nowadays. And that was that, an epitaph likely as close to anything anyone will get for what its campaign page still hails as "Kickstarter's FIRST Japan-based video game project!" EDIT: Many humble thanks kind stranger for the gold!
For those of you picking up the Perspective posts for the first time, here is your catch-up reading.... Original Post Update #1 Update #2 Update #3 Update #4 Update #5 Update #6 TLDR: I'm breaking the Habs' season down into 5-game segments and adding in some statistic-based introspective to help you weed through the hype and hysteria and come out sane on the other end. This segment was a rough one so let's not waste any time and just rip off the bandaid... Games 58-62 (ARI-BOS-PIT-DAL-DET) Target Points: 6 Actual Points: 1 Surplus Points: -5 Total Deficit/Surplus: -12 I'd love to sugar-coat how bad this segment of games went but sugar-coated crap is still crap. This week was all about blown leads and blowouts. Somehow we managed to relinquish leads of 2-0 to ARI, 3-0 to DAL and 2-1 (and 3-1) to DET. Sometimes I wonder if I'd be happier if I'd turned off the TV at the 10:00 mark of the 2nd Period of every game and just called it a night. Throw in a pair of 4-1 losses to PIT and Pastrnak & Co and we manage to limp away from this week with 1 point. (Cue Harry Doyle - "1 Point? That's all we got...1 goddamned point?"). For a team with 2x 8-Game Winless streaks on their record already, dropping another 5 straight was strangely unexpected and painful. With a deficit of -12 points and only 20 remaining games, we now need 9 of every 10 available points to hit the season goal of 98 points. .900 hockey seems like a lot to ask from a team barely cruising along at .500 and with a losing home record. Still, there were positives on the week highlighted by the returns of Drouin, Byron & Weber, the 2nd (& conditional 4th) we acquired on the Scandella deal, and the ongoing emergence of Nick Suzuki. A few positive notes on our super-rookie:
Suzuki has 13 points in his last 12 games which has catapulted him into T-2nd in team scoring
Suzuki becomes the Habs 1st rookie to hit 40 points since Michael Ryder (63) in the 03-04 season
At the point in last season where KK started dropping off, Suzuki is only getting better
Suzuki already has 2 more points in his rookie NHL season (13-27=40) than he scored in his rookie OHL season (20-18=38)
Suzuki's pace puts him in line for a 55-point season but if you consider the accelerated rate with which he's been scoring since January 27th, that number could end up as high as 62. By comparison, Mitch Marner tallied 61 in his rookie season.
With those happy thoughts firmly in mind, let's move forward to the next segment of games. Games 63-67 (WAS-OTT-VAN-NYR-CAR) If I'm a betting man, I'm laying down even odds that Ovi breaks his slump and notches 699 & 700 on Thursday. With MB finally acknowledging the fact that we're not making the playoffs and starting to convert assets into futures, I expect the positive energy surrounding the team to begin to wain. If we drop both the WAS and OTT games, I also expect we'll be shopping for a new Head Coach once the trade deadline passes. Frankly, even 2 wins may not be enough to save CJ's considering the volume of leads we've proven incapable of protecting. The only x-factor is Geoff Molson's willingness to swallow $5M/season for the remainder of CJ's contract. Moving on, it's difficult to handicap the VAN-NYR-CAR games as we really have no idea which players will still be wearing the CH come Monday afternoon. We could be seeing a steady diet of Weal/Cousins/Weise for the foreseeable future. For the deep dive this week, I'm actually revisiting the PJ Stock comments from last week where he critiques Trevor Timmins' inability to scout and draft 70-point players. Assuming that a 70-point scorer is the benchmark for a successful draft, I wanted to take a look at how many of these magical unicorns have actually been available to Timmins at the time of the Habs' first draft pick. After all, criticizing Timmins for not being able to draft Jonathan Toews 3rd overall in 2006 seems a bit harsh considering we didn't get a pick until 20th. (Full Disclosure: I originally posted this in the PJ Stock/Trevor Timmins discussion post but there were a few additional points I wanted to add so my apologies for those of you who may be reading this again.) Let’s talk actual numbers: Considering that we obviously can’t draft a 70-point player that was drafted before we got our 1st pick in a draft year, let’s take a look at how many 70-point players were drafted AFTER our 1st pick. I’m omitting the ridiculous 2003 greatest draft in history because EVERYBODY missed out on a dozen 70-point scorers. For the record, here are a few of the 2003 later picks that were passed over in the first round (further proving that scouting, drafting and developing is NOT an exact science), Bergeron (45), Weber (49), Backes (62), Pavelski (205) & Byfuglien (245). When you look at the players who have become 70-point scorers, the vast majority of them were drafted within the top 15 picks of their draft years. Montreal's average 1st round draft position during the Timmins years has been 19th. Before the list, I also took a look at how prevalent 70-pointers are in the NHL. Since 2004/05, there are on average 29.5x 70-point scorers every season or 1 per team. So why haven't we had any of these players? We actually have. Domi in 18/19 (72), Plekanec in 09/10 (70), Kovalev in 07/08 (84) & Koivu in 06/07 (75). In addition, the Timmins-drafted Pacioretty had seasons of 65-67-64-67 from 11/12-16/17...not quite 70 but not far off. Here's the list of all of the eventual 70-point scorers who were available to TT after our 1st pick: 2004 - Krejci (63) 2005 - Kopitar (11), Neal (33), Stastny (44). FYI we drafted Price 5th and our next pick was 45th 2006 - Giroux (22), Foligno (28), Marchand (71) 2007 - Benn (129) 2009 - O’Reilly (33) 2010 - Kuznetzov (26) 2011 - Kucherov (58), Trochek (64), Gaudreau (104) 2012 - Hertl (17) 2013 - Guentzel (77) 2014 - Point (79) 2015 - Aho (35) 2016 - DeBrincat (39) There are a total of 18 players here that we actually could have drafted; an average of just over 1/year. I would argue that we didn’t actually "miss out" on the 2005 crop of 70-point scorers since we got Price and didn’t pick again until they were off the board so make that number 15 for an average of exactly 1/year. Consider as well that 3 teams who drafted these eventual 70-point players TRADED THEM before they hit that mark. (Stastny, Foligno, O’Reilly). This suggests that even after they’ve drafted the player, a team doesn’t always know what they have. Stock makes it sound like teams draft these later picks with full knowledge of what they’ll become and therefore it must be easy to identify, draft & develop these players when in reality, 1 team every year gets lucky enough to pick in the right spot to find a gem. If Stock thinks he’s figured out the draft cheat code for 70-point players, why haven’t we hired him yet? I'll check back in after the CAR game and we'll take stock of how the team looks from a personnel & points perspective...until then, Vive Les Glorieux! Edit: Koivu brain fart
[Game Preview] Week 3 Philadelphia Eagles(1-1) vs Detroit Lions (1-0-1)
Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) vs Detroit Lions (1-0-1)
The Eagles will look to rebound in in week 3, after a disappointing loss to the Falcons last week that saw them lose both their starting WRs in the first series of the game as well as some scares in the blue tent with both Carson Wentz and Jason Kelce being evaluated for concussions in the game. The Eagles also loss Corey Clement on a kick return last week. The Eagles will most likely be missing both WRs and Clement this week as they welcome the Detroit Lions back to town for the first time since the snow bowl in 2013. In that time frame the Eagles have lost the last two meetings in Detroit to the Lions. Lions are coming off a tough win vs. the Chargers after settling for a tie with the Cardinals in week 1. Patricia is trying to prove he isn’t a bust like so many Belichick disciples before him after going 6-10 with the Patriots in week 1. The two teams will both be looking for win number 2 in week 3 as the teams meet in Philly for the first time since the snow bowl in 2013 when Chip Kelly still looked like he could be a viable NFL coach (a fact that has been verified as false). The Lions took their revenge since that game blowing out Chip Kelly’s Eagles in 2015 and winning a nail biter against Pederson’s Eagles in his first season in 2016. Pederson will look for his first win against the Lions and the Eagles secondary will look to rebound after being shredded by Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley week 2. As rumors circulate of Jalen Ramsey the Eagles corners will look to prove them themselves against a talented Lions WR corps led by Kenny Golladay, who looks like a stud after his first to years in the league. The Eagles secondary will look for help from a DL that has only managed two sacks in their first two weeks and has failed to generate any real pressure despite holding opponents rushing to just 42.5 yards per game. On the flip side, Pederson will look to reinforce to Matt Patricia who his daddy is after last torching the Patriot led Patricia defense in Super Bowl 52 with Big Dick Nick Foles. Look for the Eagles to start fast as Pederson has blamed his play-calling for the slow starts in the first two games of the season. The game should help determine for both teams if they are playoff contenders or pretenders so look for a hard fought game on both sides with hopefully no injuries. As always Go Birds!
FOX will broadcast Sunday’s game to a regional audience. Thom Brennaman will handle the play-by-play duties and Chris Spielman will try to provide analysis. Shannon Spake will report from the sideline.
Calling the game on 94WIP and the Eagles Radio Network will be Merrill Reese, the NFL’s longest-tenured play-by-play announcer (42nd season). Joining Reese in the radio booth will be former Eagles All-Pro wide receiver Mike Quick, while Howard Eskin will report from the sidelines.
94.1 FM and 610 AM
Atlantic City/South Jersey
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD
Philadelphia Spanish Radio
Rickie Ricardo, Macu Berral and Gus Salazar will handle the broadcast in Spanish on Mega 105.7 FM in Philadelphia and the Eagles Spanish Radio Network.
October 18th, 1933 at Baker Bowl in Philadelphia, PA. Philadelphia Eagles 0 – Portsmouth Spartans 25
The Philadelphia Eagles lead the Detroit Lions (747-717)
Doug Pederson: 0-1 against the Lions
Matt Patricia: This will be Patricia’s first game against Eagles
Coaches Head to Head
Doug Pederson vs Matt Patricia This will be the first meeting between the coaches, but Pederson still gives Patricia nightmares of the Philly Special when he was DC of the Patriots in Super Bowl 52.
Carson Wentz: Against Lions: 0-1
Matt Stafford: Against Eagles: 3-1
Quarterbacks Head to Head
Carson Wentz vs Matt Stafford: Stafford leads 1-0
Records per Stadium
Record @ Lincoln Financial Field: Eagles lead Lions 2-1
Record @ Ford Field: Series Tied 2-2
Rankings and Last Meeting Information
AP Pro 32 Ranking
Eagles No. 8 - Lions No. 20
Sunday, October 9th, 2016
Eagles 23 - Lions 24
Matt Stafford and the Lions got off to a quick start scoring touchdowns on their first 4 possessions of the game before the Eagles defense settled down and the defense settled down. The offense took the lead in the 4th quarter with a Cody Parkey field goal, but a perfect pass by Matt Stafford to Golden Tate set up a Matt Prater field goal with 1:28 to go left in the game and the Eagles with no timeout. Wentz who played nothing like a rookie in just his 5th NFL games had his rookie side come out at the worst possible moment as he threw up a deep game to Nelson Agholor on first down which was picked off by Darius Slay to seal the game for the Lions.
Both teams struggled to put up points and kick extra points in the first half as a blizzard gripped Philadelphia dropping 6 inches despite a forcast of only a couple snow showers. However once LeSean McCoy put his head down and ran straight ahead instead of juking and jiving, no one could stop him. McCoy ran for a franchise-best 217 yards, including touchdowns of 57 and 40 yards. The Eagles put up 34 points despite trailing the Philadelphia Eagles overcame two TD returns by Jeremy Ross to beat the Detroit Lions 34-20 in a snowy Sunday in Philadelphia.
Lions LB Coach Al Golden was the HC of the Temple Owls in Philadelphia from 2006-2010.
Lions DB Coach Brian Stewart was an assistant with the Eagles in 2009.
Lions Assistant OL Coach Hank Fraley played 6 seasons with the Eagles from 2000-2005 and was starting center when they went to the Super Bowl 2005.
Lions WR Danny Amendola was on the Eagles Practice Squad in 2009.
Eagles HC Jim Schwartz was HC of the Lions from 2009-2013.
Eagles Defensive Special Assistant Matt Burke was the Lions LB coach from 2009-2013.
Eagles backup QB Josh McCown played one season for the Lions in 2006.
Eagles Pro Bowl DE Brandon Graham was born in Michigan and attended the University of Michigan.
Eagles DT Akeem Spence played one season for the Lions in 2017.
Recap from Last Week’s Games.
Video The Eagles offense started with another slow start and the loss of both starting WRs (Jeffrey and Jackson) on the first series did not help any. The Eagles offense struggled to maintain drives against the speedy Falcons defense who picked off Carson Wentz twice. On the other side of the ball the Eagles struggled to stop the vaunted passing attack of the Falcons led by Matt Ryan and Julo Jones. The Eagles kept it exciting as Wentz gave the Eagles a 3 point advantage with 3:13 left, but the Eagles defense couldn’t hang on giving up a 4th down 54 yard TD with 2:12 left in the game and the Eagles failed to score on their next possession giving the win to the Falcons.
Video The Lions came into the game looking to prove themselves after settling for a tie with the rebuilding Cardinals. But the Chargers dominated most of the day. They picked off Matt Stafford twice and kept the QB off balance before he connected with Kenny Galloday in the middle of the 4th quarter for a go ahead TD to give the Lions the lead. On the other side of the ball, Keenan Allen dominated the Lions Pro Bowler from last season, Darrius Slay, for most the game hauling in 8 catches for 98 yards, but Slay got the better of him at the end of the game picking off a Philip Rivers pass with a minute and ten seconds left when the Chargers were in position to attempt a 45 yard FG to tie the game. Slay's INT sealed the game giving the Lions second place in the division behind Packers and kept them undefeated.
2019 Pro Bowlers
DT Fletcher Cox (Starter)
LS Don Muhlbach (Starter)
OG Brandon Brooks (Starter)
CB Darrius Slay
TE Zach Ertz (Starter)
SS Malcom Jenkings (1st Alt)
OT Lane Johnson (1st Alt
Referee: Tony Corrente
Philadelphia has registered a 17-15-2 (.529) all-time record vs. Detroit (including playoffs). The Eagles have won 7 of the last 10 games (.700) in the series.
Philadelphia owns a 10-9 (.526) all-time record at home vs. Detroit, including a 2-1 mark at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles have posted a 5-1 record in their last 6 home games against the Lions (including playoffs).
The last time Philadelphia faced Detroit at Lincoln Financial Field was on 12/8/13 (W, 34-20).
Including playoffs, Philadelphia has recorded the 2nd-best home winning percentage (.778, 21-6) in the NFL since 2016, trailing only New England (.867, 26-4).
The Eagles have won 8 of their last 11 contests (.727) at Lincoln Financial Field (including playoffs), in addition to 17 of their last 21 home games (.810) overall.
Philadelphia leads the NFL in rushing defense (91.1) since 2016. The Eagles rank 3rd in that category (42.5) in 2019, behind Baltimore (20.5) and New Orleans (37.0).
OT Andre Dillard
TE T.J. Hockenson
RB Miles Sanders
LB Jahlani Tavai
WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside
S Will Harris
WR Shareff Miller
DE Austin Bryant
QB Clayton Thorson(I suck and am a Cowboy Now)
CB Amani Oruwariye
WR Travis Fulgham
RB Ty Johnson
TE Issac Nauta
DT P.J. Johnson
Notable Off-season Additions
WR Desean Jackson
DE Trey Flowers
DT Malik Jackson
TE Jesse James
DE Vinny Curry
WR Danny Amendola
S Andrew Sendejo
CB Justin Coleman
LB Zach Brown
G Oday Aboushi
DT Hassan Ridgeway
DT Mike Daniels
QB Josh McCown
WR Jermaine Kearse
DT Damon Harrison
Notable Off-season Departures
QB “Big Dick” Nick Foles
S Glover Quin
DE Michael Bennett
G TJ Lang
DE Chris Long
DE Ezekiel Ansah
S Chris Maragos
FB Nick Bellore
RB Jay Ajayi
CB Nevin Lawson
RB Josh Adams
RB Theo Riddick
RB Wendell Smallwood
TE Levine Toilolo
WR Jordan Matthews
DE Eli Harold
DT Haloti Ngata
DE Kerry Hyder
G Laken Tomlinson
Eagles QB Carson Wentz (74) needs 3 passing TDs to move up to 6th on the Eagles all-time passing TDs list moving ahead of Sonny Jurgenson.
Eagles TE Zach Ertz (29) needs 2 TDs to move up to 11th on the Eagles all-time receiving TD list all-time tying WR Jack Ferrante and Brent Celek
Eagles TE Zach Ertz (4953) needs 36 yards to move up to 8th on the Eagles all-time receiving yards list all-time passing his mentor TE *Brent Celek
Eagles TE Zach Ertz (4953) needs 47 yards for 5000 career receiving yards.
Eagles WR Desean Jackson (34) needs 2 TDs to move into a tie for 7th on the Eagles all-time receiving TD list tying Jeremy Maclin.
Eagles WR Desean Jackson (6271) needs 194 yards to move up to 3rd on the Eagles all-time receiving yard list to moving ahead of Mike Quick.
Eagles RB Darren Sproles needs 40 yards to move up to 5th on the NFL’s all-time all-purpose yards list passing WR Tim Brown.
Eagles S Malcolm Jenkins's (4) needs 1 more Interception for a TD to tie CB Eric Allen (5) for most Interceptions for a TD by an Eagles player.
Pro Football Focus Matchup Charts courtesy of PFF Edge (join.profootballfocus.com/edge/)
Matthew Stafford is one of the most productive Quarterbacks in NFL history, but the deep ball has never been a huge factor in his game. In 2019, that’s not been the case. In two games--so a small sample size--Stafford has averaged the second-greatest percentage of all passes being throws at least 20 yards down the field, at 22.7%. Josh Rosen is tops, so far, at 28.6%. His Deep Adjusted Completion Percentage, though (completions + drops / aimed) is and typically has been middling, at 47.1%, where the average is 43.6%.
Matchups to Watch
Lions Pass Defense vs Eagles Receivers
I had to think about whether or not the Eagles would have receivers for this game – emphasis on the plural version. In week 2, the Eagles suffered a deluge of injuries at the WR spot essentially turning the WR room into this year’s version of the 2018 CB room. For all of the good the Eagles do with coaching and analytics, they have terrible injury luck. It warrants a lot of fan inquiries into what the Eagles are actually doing with regards to player health. Philly will likely be without Alshon, DJax, and Dallas Goedert in this contest, significantly altering the teams potential game plan for the Lions. The Lions have a decent secondary with stud Darius Slay and the always fun Quandre Diggs at safety. Slay will follow the oppositions top target from time to time which could end up being Zach Ertz given the amount of Eagles injuries. They’d be wise to do that since the Lions don’t have an LB to match up with Ertz. This could give Nelson Agholor an opportunity to be a key player for the team in this contest. As we saw just a week ago, he can bail you out and also help you lose at the same time. Carson Wentz took a lot more heat that deserved for his efforts against Atlanta despite some questionable first half play by helping give this team a late lead in a game they still should have won despite the adversity. He’ll have to lean on the inexperienced depth at receiver and the coaches will have to devise a game plan to help out Carson Wentz. Being down 3 out of your top 4 targets at once is a difficult hurdle to leap but one the Eagles have no choice but to do this week. The Lions will likely do what the Falcons did and stack the box, daring them to throw. The Eagles have the QB to execute the offense, but can the remaining receivers step up in an important spot?
Lions Defensive Front vs Eagles Offensive Line
The Eagles offensive line turned in a shaky performance last week against a Falcons defensive line that was hungry, desperate to right their season, and get revenge on their recent let downs against the Eagles. Brandon Brooks is the only guy on the line to have a great game, which says a lot about his recovery. Overall, I think too much has been said about Peters this week; while he wasn’t great against Atlanta, he did play well overall and wasn’t the main problem. Isaac Seumalo was the main culprit and an utter disaster against the gifted Grady Jarrett. I understand the frustration with his play but I think we need to remember that he has turned in some solid performances for the Eagles – including week 1 against a good opponent. It’s concerning that he regressed mightily to 2017 Week 2 form so quickly, but he deserves a chance to bounce back. He better quickly as the entire Detroit DL is talented and multiple in their looks. Snack Harrison, A’Shawn Robinson, Da’shawn Hand, Trey Flowers, and Mike Daniels can be very disruptive for the Lions. Matt Patricia isn’t afraid to line these guys anywhere; we should expect him to try and exploit Seumalo like the Falcons did. Seumalo needs to step up and the coaches need to find a way to make life easier for him. One thing to note… they should be better against the run than they’ve been. It’s odd to see this unit allow over 5 YPC in the young season. If the Eagles OL can play more disciplined this week, it’ll go a long way in helping the offense stay on schedule. Furthermore, they need to keep Wentz clean. There were times where Wentz welcomed the hits but more often than not the OL was beat cleanly and Wentz had to get hit in order to keep the play alive. Look at the Nelson Agholor drop and 4th down catch for example. Both were delivered as he was being hit. Those weren’t on Wentz. The OL allowed an alarming number of hits than we’re used to seeing.
Lions Passing Offense vs Eagles Pass Defense
As long as the Eagles don’t have a CB at the level of, say, Jalen Ramsey, the secondary will always be a question mark. This is especially true in a Jim Schwartz defense that sometimes doesn’t help hide the deficiencies his CBs have, resulting in big plays the other way. The Lions have a very good receiving room despite it not being as good as the Atlanta group the Eagles just faced. I also wonder if the Rocket Scientist knows that he has the 8th best passing offense by DVOA so far this season. Anyway, Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones are as good a deep ball pairing as you’ll see; they are paired with a QB in Stafford that has all the arm talent you could want and isn’t afraid to let it rip. Golladay and Jones don’t separate like Julio and Ridley, but they can make plays in tight situations routinely. Rookie TJ Hockenson is already a good tight end for the Lions. He can win in all areas of the field. Danny Amendola is a good underneath option to pair with the previous 3 players who help give him space to operate. Stafford is an aggressive passer that will take his shots when the opportunity presents itself, which it will Sunday. The Eagles CBs were up and down last week. Darby was roasted at times but also hung out to dry by the bad Andrew Sendejo. We saw improved play from Douglas and Jones in week 2. The Eagles will need that to continue Sunday. Hockenson will present a challenge since the Eagles haven’t faced a Tight End as talented as him in the early season. Coverage can help a pass rush, which would be useful in Philly’s case since the DL hasn’t been nearly as effective while sustaining injuries. They will need to clean up the mistakes they continue to see on the back end or else they’ll continue to allow big play after big play. Mixing up coverage tendencies would help the Eagles out too since it would present an entirely different look than what Schwartz normally shows. The most efficient way to win in the NFL is to pass and stop the pass. So far this season, the Eagles haven’t done a great job at stopping the pass. That needs to change and quickly.
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